How to Write a Research Paper

How to Write a Research Paper

Unlock the secrets of effective research paper writing with Studyfy's guide, from choosing topics to structuring arguments and mastering citations.
Kelly Spancer
min read
Jan 14, 2024

How To Write A Research Paper – The Clear-Cut and Error-Free Way!

To write a research paper, select a topic, gather and organize information, and formulate a thesis. Create an outline, draft the main content, reassess your thesis, and revise the draft. Finally, write the introduction and conclusion, then thoroughly proofread and edit.

Writing a research paper is a pivotal academic endeavor that deepens your understanding of a topic while contributing to your field of study. It involves selecting a relevant topic, conducting thorough research, and presenting your findings clearly.

This guide provides a step-by-step approach to navigate through this process, from choosing your subject to drafting and refining your paper, ensuring you create a work that is both informative and engaging. Whether for academic purposes or personal inquiry, this guide aims to equip you with the tools needed for effective research writing.

Guide to Writing a Research Paper: The Basics 

1. Know Your Expertise: Understand your strengths within your field of study. Look for underrepresented or novel areas that could benefit from further research.

2. Brainstorming Related Ideas: Generate ideas related to your main topic. Look for peculiar aspects or gaps that could form the basis of your research.

3. Narrowing Down the Topic One Last Time: Refine your topic to its most specific and polished form, ensuring it provides clear context for your study.

4. Be a Savant for Evidence:

  • Gathering initial information: Acquire prior knowledge about your topic from personal experiences or known issues.
  • Exploring Relevant Sources: Seek out credible and scientific sources from reputable organizations, academic institutions, and validated print materials.
  • Note-Take and Organize: Process and organize the gathered information using tools like mind maps or fishbone diagrams.

5. Create a Storyline: Develop a research narrative by connecting different relevant information and formulating a central point.

6. Create an Outline Like a PRO: Construct a specific, relevant, and strategic outline to provide a clear framework for your paper.

7. Structuring the Paper’s Framework: Ensure your outline is specific, relevant, and strategically organized to guide both the researcher and the readers.

8. Organizing Main Points, Subpoints, and a Thesis Statement: Break down your content into manageable subpoints to maintain clarity and coherence.

9. Maintaining a Logical Flow while Writing Research Papers: Ensure ideas are coherent and transitions are smooth for easy navigation.

10. Write the Draft Without Repeating it 100 Times: Utilize different writing strategies, focused draft creation, and content elaboration to develop a comprehensive manuscript.

11. Understanding Citation Styles and Bibliographies:

  • Knowing your Citation Styles: Choose the appropriate citation style based on your discipline or publication requirements.
  • Create a bibliography or reference list: Compile a comprehensive list of sources used in your research to reflect your academic integrity and provide a resource for others.

Choose a Topic– Carefully

A topic may be the first thing to remember when starting to write your research paper, but most of the time, this phase is also a period of unexplainable agony and distress. Want to know why?

The bigger the universal body of knowledge that we strive to explore, the more we ask questions and get curious about exploring its depths, which may lead to endless thinking and unfinished progress. 

The good news about this, though, is that this agony may meet its deserving end by narrowing things out. By choosing topics carefully, we also mean that we need to end countless unnecessary thoughts and focus on the most realistic, feasible, and specific things that you can explore as a researcher that you know you are.

To do this and hopefully choose the best topic for your research project, read through the following tips:

1. Know Your Expertise

A particular field of study has subcomponents. Exploring the entirety of it is nearly impossible unless you are Aristotle for Biology or Hawking for Physics. You have to know where you are good at, and there is definitely a stream of fields that you may find interesting or noteworthy.

Sometimes, these streams are often underrepresented because of their novelty, or maybe some phenomena are yet to be discovered through considerable amounts of literature that could either approve or reject their existence. 

For example, exoplanets, or planets that orbit stars outside our solar system, were believed to be theoretical or speculative entities rather than confirmed astronomical entities. This concept was not widely embraced by experts due to the lack of empirical evidence and the limited technological capacities to detect such planets.

This changed through astronomy in 1995 when Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz, both Swiss astronomers, announced the discovery of an exoplanet named 51 Pegasi b, circling a sun-like star outside our solar system. 

2. Brainstorming Related Ideas

Finding a suitable topic for writing a research paper does not end here. Generating related ideas to that topic may surely be of great help in writing a research paper in its easiest sense. In doing so, you may use the cardinal rule in formulating a complete research topic: find something peculiar about the topic.

This peculiarity may be in the form of a problem, novelty, or even something that does not even exist yet. Even when you think your topic in the first step is already specific, brainstorming related ideas may find new gaps that could be the groundwork for your research endeavor. 

For instance, if you have "The Efficiency of Solar Panels in Residential Settings” as your proposed topic, you may explore other related ideas attached to it, such as its impact on homeowners, the intermittence which could be one of its problems, or its connection with the environment– whether the latter benefits from it or the other way around.

From this, you are not just expanding your options, but you are seeing exactly how your research will pan out should you choose to go two steps further in the topic.

3. Narrowing Down the Topic One Last Time

Once you get to this part, it means that you are doing well in filtering down your topic. The last “funnel” is needed to bring your topic to its most polished– and fool-proof– form! By narrowing down your topic one last time, you are ensuring that you provide the context of your study.

You may identify the type, locale, or even the dynamics of the variables included in your supposed research project. 

Suppose the proposed topic of interest is "The Influence of Social Media on Teenagers' Mental Health." To polish this topic further and present the study's context, you might dwell on "Instagram Use and Its Impact on Anxiety Levels in Adolescents from Urban Areas."

This polished version specifies the platform (Instagram), the demographic (adolescents), and a specific facet of mental health (anxiety levels). Furthermore, the study focuses on the demographics of teenagers living in urban areas, possibly opening the knowledge for comparisons between urban and rural settings or highlighting urban-specific stressors that impact mental health.

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Be a Savant for Evidence

You help yourself write a research paper by ensuring that your paper is an authority– leaving no trace of fraud or senseless information in it. In doing so, you have to prepare the information that MATTERS. 

1. Gathering initial information

You have to have a piece of prior knowledge about the issue. This prior knowledge may come from a personal experience, or something that you have known that you think affects a considerable number of individuals, regardless of whether you are included in it.

Going back to the example of solar power, you may have experienced using that kind of energy before, letting you know how it works and benefits you somehow. 

2. Exploring Relevant Sources

There are BUNCH (I could not emphasize this enough) of stuff on the Internet that have impressions to be used as a source of information to write a research paper. However, only a few can be as relevant, objective, scientific, and sensible to be included rightfully in an academic masterpiece.

The best relevant source may be found in reputable organizations, academic institutions, government-run pages, print materials, such as academic journals, and other validated print sources.

While blogs and newspapers can be enticing because of their eye-catching titles and claims, they are less superior than those mentioned in terms of credibility. You may still use them, however, when you want to provide raw data or anecdotal evidence related to a phenomenon.

3. Note-Take and Organize

This is where the ambivalent feeling of becoming a pseudo-detective begins. The information and evidence you have just gathered will not sit there to wait for a miracle to transpire.

You, as a researcher, must process them!

You need to take everything in a single base (a notebook may be handy at this part) and filter things out (yes, you need to remove some). For a good start, you may use graphic organizers like a mind map or a fishbone diagram– depending on the nature of your study.

These organizers will help you find the relationship between the concepts that potentially make up your study and minimize overcrowding of thoughts (because sometimes, too much information may overwhelm you).

4. Create a Storyline

Now comes the fun part of writing research papers! A good research paper is laid out as a story - with the preliminary research you've done, it's time to do more research, but that of a mental kind. It's time to connect different relevant information you've found and think of a central point of their convergence.

For the first draft, it's enough to come up with a research paper outline that takes your preliminary research and puts it into academic writing.

Our step by step guide guides your journey through the entire paper, including thesis statements, materials and methods section, and answering research questions. We'll also include a guide on how to properly cite resources and come up with a good introductory paragraph.

Create an Outline Like a PRO

A day will surely last without you asking the classic question, “How do I write a research paper?” if you have an outline from the get-go. Just like what was reiterated at the very beginning of this blog, all you need to do to breeze through this task of how to make a research paper is to create an outline. Creating one requires your keen eye for specificity, importance, and strategy.

You must be specific to ensure you are targeting the right answer to your question 100%– leaving no cookie crumbs. You have to make sure you are relaying the most important pointers, leaving no room for any senseless or incoherent details in your outline.

Lastly, you have to strategically place these pointers in a position where your readers can easily appreciate them while the lucid flow of your paper is carrying them. 

Having a keen eye for these criteria might be easy for a one-man team like you, but a research paper writing service like Studyfy can lay its hand for you in just a few days. With its roster of writers equipped with style knowledge, writing experience, and a keen eye for detail and nuances, your paper will never miss the harshest beat of success.

1. Structuring the Paper’s Framework

A specific, relevant, and strategic outline provides a strong framework for a paper. It provides a clear roadmap to the researcher on what to do methodically, and with clarity being considered, the paper’s framework ensures that the process maximizes finding the answer to the questions being asked by the researcher.

The harshness of having these three conditions for the outline (specificity, importance, and strategy) always comes with a prize: having a framework that guides the researcher and the readers on how the answers were extracted brilliantly.

2. Organizing Main Points, Subpoints and a Thesis Statement

A bulk of words in a paragraph can be a challenge for both the researcher and the audience. Breaking them down by dividing the points into components may ease this common writing problem.

ou may separate information into subpoints whenever you feel that they tackle an isolated topic that is distinct from one another. Subpoints may be regarded as “transition markers,” familiarizing readers with “where” they are in the paper.

3. Maintaining a Logical Flow while Writing Research Papers

The logical flow of a research paper can be seen in the way (a) ideas are coherent with each other and (b) visible transition devices connect these strings of ideas.

When you have these ticked inside the boxes, you have a paper that is easy to navigate, and ideas come off as united, giving you a singular impression even when you have read a lot of it in a single sitting.

Write the Draft Without Repeating it 100 Times

Now that you have a specific outline that will help writing a research paper, all you need to do is to start a manuscript. Writing a draft does not ideally happen overnight– unless you work in an exceptional and highly-tailored writing service that offers quality-laden research papers for sale– will not just make you monitor your progress.

Still, it will also help you check the parts you are having trouble with and strategically prioritize one over the other (you may start with the harder ones or the other way around, depending on your liking).

Other than time management, these are the other things to consider on how to do a research paper with the help of a draft: 

 1. Applying different writing strategies

Learning the different writing strategies is one of the best ways how to write a research essay in its initial stages. You can use various strategies interchangeably throughout the manuscript writing process.

These are, but are not limited to, definition, synthesis, critical analysis, argumentation, evidence integration, and storytelling, which are the approaches you can employ on the different parts of your paper.

2. Focused draft creation

A focused draft creation approach is a specialized strategy in completing a manuscript where the writer divides the writing process into sections. It does not necessarily have to be adherent to the topics or “chunks” that you have in mind before writing the manuscript.

You may divide them according to difficulty, nature of idea generation, or the recency of information. The main goal of this approach is to focus on one section before jumping to the next for clarity.

3. Content Elaboration

While this strategy may be included in the first pointer, the art of elaboration can stand on its own and possibly be imperative in the completion of a research manuscript. It often dictates how long should a research paper be due to its contribution to the word count.

However, one should not focus solely on this benefit, as elaboration has more profound work of substantiating the quality of the paper and ensuring that processes, concepts, and terminology are explained and elucidated well.

What's important for elaboration is the nature of the research question, the stance in your central argument, and the background information. A good research paper utilizes background information to provide a stream of cohesive data (which you get when you conduct research) and creates an elaborative story that simply makes sense.

Understanding Citation Styles and Bibliographies

1. Knowing your Citation Styles

APA, Chicago, MLA, Vancouver, and many more– you may choose freely— or NOT! The rule of thumb in this situation is the discipline of your study. Vancouver is mostly used in Natural Science, while APA and MLA are often employed in Social Sciences and Humanities. Aside from the field of study, the requirements for journal publication can affect your choice of citation style. These styles follow distinct citation and referencing formats, so be sure to know at least their basic features and iterations.

2. Create a bibliography or reference list

Although this part of the paper is the last (in most cases, if the Appendix page is not necessary) one to appear, it still holds significance, especially when the reader wants to see a copy of the work you previously used.

The reference list, aside from being the reflection of your integrity and commitment to sharing the knowledge with the academic community, also acts as a repository for people to find sources that they can likewise use for reference and counter-checking efforts.

Steps of Writing a Research Paper

Guide to Writing a Research Paper
Step Description
1. Expertise Identify strengths and research gaps in your field.
2. Idea Brainstorming Generate and explore ideas around your topic.
3. Topic Refinement Refine your topic for specificity and clarity.
4. Evidence Gathering Gather information from credible sources.
5. Storyline Creation Connect information to form a research narrative.
6. Outline Development Create a clear and strategic paper outline.
7. Framework Structuring Structure the paper with a specific outline.
8. Content Organization Organize main points and thesis clearly.
9. Logical Flow Ensure coherence and smooth transitions.
10. Draft Writing Develop the draft using various writing strategies.
11. Citation Styles Select the right citation style for your discipline.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How to write a good research paper if you do not have a clear outline?

Writing a research paper without a clear outline involves understanding the assignment, selecting a topic, conducting preliminary research, and drafting a tentative thesis. Start by writing sections that form a basic structure: introduction, body, and conclusion. Take detailed notes during research and focus on developing your argument. Revise your draft, ensuring coherence and logical flow. Finally, seek feedback and proofread for errors. The writing process is iterative, so be prepared to refine your paper as your ideas evolve.

If you find yourself struggling with this process, considering the option to pay for a research paper can be a practical solution.

Can literary devices or other styles of writing help on research papers?

In some parts of the paper, such as the background of the study, the creative style of writing and the use of literary devices can escape the formality of research papers. If executed well, it can complement the rigid nature of the writing process. However, it must be used sparingly.

How do you write a research paper if you do not have sufficient literature to prove the existence of a gap?

The lack of literature on a research topic is already a sign of a novelty or unexplored aspect of the phenomenon. All you need to do is provide a clear context on the phenomenon, narrow down the topic into the said limitation, acknowledge it, and provide a strong rationale that will also prove why the insufficiency calls for further development of your proposed topic. 

Is it possible for a specialized service to craft a research paper tailored to my preferences?

Indeed, a service such as Studyfy offers the capability to produce a research paper that seems as though you've meticulously crafted it yourself. Their team of skilled writers can adapt their expertise to fit your specific requirements, ensuring your paper is of the highest quality, following the IMRAD format or any other structure you need.

Opting for such a service for your "write my research paper" need means receiving a professionally crafted document, with thorough citations, grammatical precision, correct formatting, and a well-chosen research topic.